Monday, June 11, 2007

Changing Lifestyles to Fight Global Warming

"The threat of climate change is real and unless we alter our lifestyles and pursue a sustainable model of development, our future will be at peril."
You must have read it - the message was given by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to his 1.1 billion countrymen on World Environment Day. That he finally turned his attention to the imminent global crisis is surely a consolation to many even as other nations have already taken several measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In my post 'Global warming: Challenges for The Corporate World', I had touched upon a few steps the corporate world can embark upon to save the planet Earth from unimaginable devastation due to climate changes. As individuals, we too can fulfill our social responsibility in this war against global warming which ironically has been brought about by man himself by his lifestyles with no thoughts spared for the damages they cause to the environment. Experts suggest changes in lifestyles can defer and reduce the severity of global warming. Some of them are:
1. How you go from place to place
The least damage you can cause to the environment in going short distances is to walk down. Cycling may the next best thing to do. For longer distances, public transport should be availed. In case cars are to be used, let the fuel-efficient small cars using bio-fuels be the natural choice and certainly not big cars or limousines which are fuel-guzzlers. Similarly, train journeys will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions several times over compared to plane travel.
2. What are your food habits Organic foods and vegetables should be part of your menu as without use of fertilizers and pesticides, these are eco-friendly. For those having preference of non-vegetarian food, it should be admitted that the environment gets unduly burdened to support the animal livestock.
3.The way you live in your home CFL lighting saves energy by 80% and should replace all lighting by incandescent bulbs. Saving energy is the best way to save the environment. Even using showers instead of buckets of water for baths is a luxury one better avoids for fighting global warming.
4. Keep the family size small Since man is directly and indirectly polluting the environment, less population will automatically bring down greenhouse emissions. So smaller the size of the family, the more 'green' will be its carbon footprint.
Can we really bring about such radical changes in our lifestyles? Perhaps it would need all sincerity and commitment on the part of every individual to make an impact on the environment. It would be indeed a daunting task in a world whose privileged class does not want to sacrifice anything for the sake of benefiting the masses - the empty rhetoric of politicians notwithstanding. Will they ever set examples for others by practicing what they love preaching? The swanky offices and homes of ministers and MPs, the convoys of cars used often for every occasion by them, the traffic snarls (read more pollution) their movements cause are just a few examples to show where a beginning can be made for emulation by others. But that sounds like a pipe-dream.
Is it not?

1 comment:

marguerite manteau-rao said...


I agree with you on the importance of changing lifestyles to halt the current climate crisis. Not enough importance is being paid, in my opinion, to the emotional and cognitive personal barriers to such changes. I have a background as a psychotherapist (in addition to being an MBA marketing type), and it is common psychological knowledge that the only way to create change in a person, is to meet them where they are, first. In regard to global warming, that means acknowledging first the personal realities, and leading people in exercises of self-awareness. Not judging, simply accepting their very imperfect realities. A few months ago, I started a blog to document such personal barriers, using myself as subject. You may enjoy going through it. I would love to hear your perspective.

marguerite manteau-rao (friend of Sramana)